The FET Flagships are long-term, large scale research initiatives aiming to solve ambitious S&T challenges. They require strong science investment over a long time period that cannot be made alone by the European Commission or any single Member State. They follow a long term (10 years) roadmap on how to achieve them. The EU takes up the funding of the large Core Project of the Flagships. Besides this, an important part of the support to the FET Flagship initiatives is expected to come from national and regional funding through the use of existing calls for research proposals overlapping with the domains of the two Flagships, in combination with specific Flagship Association Mechanisms.
The objectives of these mechanisms are to allow for associated partners to join the Core Project. Associated partners can be organized either individually or collectively in a Partnering Project, with its own funding (mainly, but not exclusively, funded by Member States and countries associated to H2020). The Associated partners/Partnering Projects contribute to the Flagship objectives and collaborate with partners in the Core Project. They provide a way for researchers funded outside the Flagship Core Projects (at the national and regional as well as European and international levels) and inside these Core Projects to set up Partnering Project Agreements.
The goal of these mechanisms is to allow researchers funded from various sources to work together toward the objectives of the Flagship initiatives in a seamless fashion. The details of these mechanisms depend on the specificities of each Flagship.
The Graphene flagship explains their Association Mechanisms here.
More background information is also available in the following documents published in September 2014 by the European Commission: the FET Flagship Staff Working document, announcing the implementation model for the Flagships in H2020, the overview and the presentation.